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Movie Review – Poor Things

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“Are we really just barbarians?”, a character whimsically asks of her friends in the film. This movie is a deeper, philosophical look at the human condition, nature vs. nurture, love, eroticism, and the impact of economic stratification. It is rare that I am truly “hooked” in the first three minutes of a film, but indeed I was as the beginning moved from color to black-and-white whilst being introduced to Bella (Emma Stone) and her “creator”, Godwin (Willem Dafoe). To be sure, along with the recent Golden Globe nominations, this movie is poised to receive multiple Oscar nods, including that of Best Picture.

In general, the movie is set around the time of the “Gilded Age” and is about a “Mad Scientist” who re-animates a cadaver (Bella) with the implantation of an infant’s brain. As such, she gradually “grows up”, mentally and emotionally, as the movie progresses. Acting-wise, Sto ne is stellar at conveying the evolution of her personality, from utterly rudimentary to strikingly sophisticated. Perhaps most noteworthy it is general knowledge that virtually all movies are filmed “out of sequence”, such that “Day One” of filming might be the final scene. However, her performance is so beautifully acted, with extraordinary attention to her development, that it unfolds like a masterfully linear three-act play. To date, this is the most “daring” of roles that she has portrayed such that she seems comfortable in the more erotic scenes (of which there are many). However, in terms of her performance, it is even more impressive in how she conveys how painful emotions can take hold of us and, as a consequence, we are challenged to respond to adversity. Finally, another Oscar-worthy acting performance is that of Willem Dafoe who portrays an over-the-top, eccentric, and bizarre scientist/surgeon. However implausible his character is, he portrays it in a m anner which is stunningly believable. His character is also one with whom the audience can easily sympathize.

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Although the top-quality acting could actually “carry this movie on its back”, it does not stop there. This is to say that the brilliance of this film-making venture does not rest on its “star power”, but is outstanding in the areas of cinematography, costume design, and musical score. First, the cinematography is pleasantly reminiscent of “Moulin Rouge” (2001); however, with the use of advanced film techniques, the cinematographers took things up several notches from films made around the turn of the millenium. Second, the costume design is done with the playful, yet detailed, attention to the period as well as to the locales of England, Portugal, and France. Last, the musical score ranges from being joyous to absolutely haunting. It does not call attention to itself, per se, but rather adds to the “mood” of the particular scene. In sum, the audie nce feels as if they are in another time and place whilst being captivated by the plot, story, and character evolution.

While this move is over two hours, audience members are likely to find that it moves along rapidly. In fact, I was left “wanting more” at the conclusion of the movie such that the entertainment value was extraordinarily top-notch. Although it is implausible that a sequel would be made for this film, I would be the first in line, if by some unlikely happenstance, that were to eventuate!

Grade: A+

About The Peetimes: Thankfully, it was not difficult to identify the Peetimes for this movie. The first Peetime is ideal, but the fourth one is also highly recommended, particularly a great deal happens following that Peetime. The third Peetime is for emergencies only because it is rather short in length, but as the movie is over two hours, it might be useful.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Poor Things.

Rated: (R) Gore | Disturbing Material | Graphic Nudity | Language | Strong Sexual Content
Genres: Romance, Sci-Fi
Starring: Emma Stone, Mark Ruffalo, Willem Dafoe
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Writer(s): Tony McNamara, Alasdair Gray
Language: English, French, Portuguese
Country: Ireland, United Kingdom, United States

Plot
The incredible tale about the fantastical evolution of Bella Baxter, a young woman brought back to life by the brilliant and unorthodox scientist Dr. Godwin Baxter.

Don’t miss your favorite movie moments because you have to pee or need a snack. Use the RunPee app (Androidor iPhone) when you go to the movies. We have Peetimes for all wide release films every week, including Drive Away Dolls, Madam Web, One Love, Argylle, I.S.S., and coming soon DUNE part II and many others. We have literally thousands of Peetimes—from classic movies through today’s blockbusters. You can also keep up with movie news and reviews on our blog, or by following us on Twitter @RunPee. If there’s a new film out there, we’ve got your bladder covered.

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